Nacogdoches City Council addresses funding utility infrastructure

Nacogdoches City Council discusses funding utility infrastructure
Published: Nov. 14, 2023 at 6:53 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Aging water and sewer pipelines in Nacogdoches has been a longtime issue, and according to city staff, delaying repairs can bring more extensive problems and higher costs.

The City of Nacogdoches saw a successful general bond election of $43.9 million last week, which will fund multiple projects across the city.

City public works director Steve Bartlett explained that a general bond is primarily funded through property and sales taxes, which is why utility infrastructure funding was put to the side.

“What can’t be or isn’t funded through your taxes are water and sewer. Those are funded strictly from the revenues from your water bill and sewer bill,” he said.

Bartlett presented water and sewer infrastructure needs to the city council on Tuesday night, estimating nearly $116 million.

He said most pipelines in the city are between 50 and 100 years old and have been temporarily fixed over the last ten years. “That’s not cost-effective. That’s not a good way to use your dollar. We need to replace the line, not be patching the line,” he said.

Factors like pipe material, age, and weather can cause damage. “We always have more water line leaks when we have a cold, then hot weather changes.”

According to Bartlett, water distribution is tier one, estimated to cost nearly $50 million to improve 23 water lines. Water treatment in tier two is estimated to cost nearly $10 million.

Sewer system needs include improving 26 sewer lines and two large sewer creek lines at nearly $50 million. “They’re at a high risk of failing and spilling sewer into the creek, which we’ve certainly done, and it’s not a good thing environmentally. It’s something we want to avoid,” he said.

Tier two would go to sewer treatment, costing $5.2 million.

Bartlett explained increasing water and sewer rates or if city decides to take on a revenue bond could help fund the projects. The city council can also appoint a committee to evaluate the needs.

“We all know we need water, we all know we need sewer, and we need to function almost all the time.”